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[Fiction] Pow wow: Opening day, Sun Dance Ceremony


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He was ready as he was going to be. He heard the announcer over loudspeaker welcoming everyone to the 2014 intertribal Pow-Wow. Totem looked at the others in their costume regalia, impressive looking as always. When he was a child he had been afraid of the dancers until Granddad had took him over to talk to one. Then he found it was just a normal person beneath all the feathers and costume. He wondered if people saw him that very way now.

He looked most impressive as well he thought with a bit of justified vanity. All the beads and colorful strips woven among his fur that he had shaded to a multitude of vibrant colors. Blue, indigo, red and blacks made him look so different than normal. He almost didn’t recognize himself. He stood on his hind legs as he would the entire ceremony. Gripping the lodge pole tightly in his hand he looked at the decorations he had adorned it with. Tusks of a long extinct Saber Tooth Tiger, A beautiful Crystal had been set into the top, his own feathers tied onto it by leather strips. The fine craftsmanship of Sakurako’s hand to build the huge staff. It looked good and fitting for the moment. He was glad that so many Novas had given him gifts to adorn it with.

He moved out of the tent toward the Rodeo grounds. The rest of the performers in V formation followed behind him. Some where loud, jumping and whooping their enthusiasm. Others somber and introspective, he however wanted to cut the difference. With a proud manner he strode out onto the field and much like his XWF appearance the crowd popped from the thousands who had gathered to watch. It was different though, being outdoors it didn’t rebound or maybe it was the fact these people weren’t cheering to see his blood. Either way he was happy it was different. The announcer introduced him and other dancers as they formed the circle to begin.

He looked one final time over the crowd noting familiar faces and strangers alike. Then he blocked it all out of his mind. There was no audience, no friends, the stand where empty, like they where whenever they came to practice over the past few months. The only thing that mattered was the drumbeat that began to call cadence to him and his fellow performers.

The circle began to move. Every costumed actor began to play his part and Totem performed his. Stomping their feet in time with the drum Totem enhanced the drum with the heavy beat of his paws. Around they went as the chanting began. Calls of a people who had long been in harmony with the earth. Thanking the spirits of animals that fed them, telling of the sacred hoop. The Sioux performed the ceremony with a determination and enthusiasm that grew into the crowd. Some in the stands whooped encouragement. Others could be heard quietly chanting prayers in time with the drummers below.

Totem was still in his own separate world. His vision clouded over as he went around, spinning with his wings outstretched. Mocking dives and soaring with the others as they stomped their way around the drummers. Most watched him, they where enthralled with his performance. He moved with a almost hypnotic grace and majesty. Yet he began to become hard to see, a shroud of smoke seemed to wrap itself around him. Trails formed behind him smoke snaked along the ground in all directions.

The drums seem to become sharper and more intense as the wisps of smoke moves into the stands. It has a life of it’s own and begins taking shapes and changing colors as it goes. Spectral animals spring to life from the mist. Rabbits and Deer dart among the crowd and performers alike. A herd of Bison moves slowly through the grounds pacing through anything solid as they move on to better pastures. Wolves howl along with the performance but the dancers do not stop. The crowd at first seems on the verge of panic but the chanting and drums show no sign of stopping and the audience accepts the wonder and amazement that is happening all around them now. The only thing drawing more attention than the colorful smoke animals is the Griffin at the center of it all. His moves are now enhanced by the clouds of billowing vapor around him making him appear like an eagle soaring in the heavens. Dipping from cloud top to cloud top with the other performers as ghostly eagles rise above the audience.

It is simply too much for some. Many are weeping as they gaze at the spirits that have come to life, others watch in silent awe as the Oglala Nova moves with his brothers upon the field. The chanting seems to become joined by hundreds more unseen performers. Out of the clouds rolling across the field and stands specters of ancient Sioux begin emerging. Chanting solemnly in time with the drums as their people had for hundreds of years before. The moment seems to be lost in the mists of time that surrounded the fairgrounds. Most watch in wonder, a few in fear but none can take their eyes off the event as it unfolds.

The ceremony begins to come to a close; the animals and natives begin to disappear like fog on a sunny morning. The chanting slowly retreats back into the evaporating clouds until all that remains is the performers on the rodeo grounds, alone finishing their sun dance. With sudden abruptness the drums and chanting stop and silence stuns the gathered crowd. For a long moment nothing more than a few sobs can be heard but it lasts only a second before a thunderous applause begins to roll from the crowd.

Totem stops when the drums do. He blinks himself back to reality as he realizes the ceremony is finally over. The silence baffles and worries him. Did they not like it, did he mess up? His doubts had just started to manifest when he looked at some of the disbelieving face in the crowd turn into furious joy. The cheer rolled across him and he could honestly say that the moment was the best in his newfound life.

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At first he was just content to sit and watch from the strong branch of a tree. His stomach was full and the kids were friendly, couldn't ask for much more.

Totem was impressive. Nice to finally see him, even from this distance.

Then the show starts. The beat is interesting. In a strange way it reminds him of some of the stuff he did at Hebrew Camp. But so many people.

So into it. And then the show really starts. Leonard start bopping up and down to the beat. His arms start pumping. He makes low chuffing sounds in time with the beat. Movement increases, gets stronger and more urgent. The crowd flows and Leonard flows with him. He doesn't even notice when his bouncing actually breaks the tree and sends him down to the ground. He lands on his feet and instinctively joins the throng, dancing and moving to something ancient and new.

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Codex makes her way to the edge of the crowd and sits awkwardly, her braced leg stuck out straight in front of her. She watches Totem with an intent expression, tapping her fingers in time to the drumbeat.

She really doesn't interact with the baselines in the audience, merely watches the performance, and when it is done, applauds loudly, sending a voiceless burst of approval to Totem when it's done.

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April hung in the air over the outer stands, waiting for the show to start. She'd arrived plenty early for a good seat, but figured she'd let it go for those who really needed one.

'sides, this has got to be the best seat in the house.

From her position, it is easy to spot Totem approaching the area. He seems different somehow - not intimidating so much as impressive. Suddenly, April can get past the obvious - size, claws, and the like - and see the inherent majesty of a mythological beast come to Earth.

Suddenly much more interested in the ritual, April turns and watches as the dancers are introduced and move into position. As the Sun Dance begins, she is gradually drawn in by the beat of the drum and the rhythm of the chants, but she is forced to realize that the display has no real meaning to her. The allegory and language are both foreign - with all the preaching on European-Americans public school didn't really bother to include something like this on the curriculum.

Then, the symbols begin to come to life. As smoke and phantom creatures pour forth from Totem, April is at first surprised, then worried ... then enthralled. The spectacle spells out the meaning behind the ritual, bypassing the boundaries of culture and language. April watches, spellbound by both the 'story' and the sheer beauty of the interwoven dance and illusion.

When it comes to an end, she comes back down to earth (figuratively) - falling silent as she processes what she had witnessed. The first cheers remind of her location, and she looks up, a broad grin on her face as she begins cheering loudly along with the rest of the crowd.

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Searching the area for a comfortable spot, Apep growls to herself as the humans rush about like a herd to the stands. It’s not that she hates them, she’s often amused by them, she’s even been ‘friends’ with a few of them, it’s just that events like this make it hard for her to see them as anything other than cattle. Maybe she does hate them. None seem to recognize her. They’re all preoccupied with themselves, and it’s easy to overlook such a small girl in such a big crowd. Before they have the chance to, she doesn’t want to be the cause of a panic, Apep separates herself from the vermin with a powerful leap.

Eyes settling on a tall tree, she makes another leap and perches on a branch. Scanning the area she spots the furry Great Monster C in a tree not far from her own and she giggles. That’s something you don’t see everyday, a huge muppet with googly eyes sitting in a tree.

Satisfied with her shady vantage point, she waits for the ceremony to start. As the drums begin, the beat fills her, stirring her instincts, taunting her. She can feel the serpents calling her at the edge of her awareness. As the ceremony proceeds, she sits still, unmoving, watching. Claws unconsciously unsheathe, her eyes narrow and fangs extend. Her gaze focuses on Totem. His magnificence centers her. Her weapons slide back into her, and she is calm.

As the applause washes over the area, Apep takes a deep breath and drops from the tree with a beaming smile. He was most impressive

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Preston finds a decent vantage point and watches. For a moment, he is pulled by the desire to 'see' beyond the here and now and reach back with Totem to what was. He catches himself.

'This is Totem's day,' he thinks. 'I'm not here to learn anything. I'm not on the job. Got to remember that.'

When the ceremony finishes, Preston doesn't do or say anything. He drinks in the history of the moment and seems pleased.

"What we do for them, and they do for us," he mutters. "A perfect synergy."

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Bastian moved through the crowd as the performers entered the ring. He moved like a specter through them in his haste to join the momentum as it starts.

Bastian literally flows into the circle of drummers, skimming from mind to mind. Yet, he isn't there to dominate the spirit of the People, but to feed on it, and give of himself to it. He takes in the history of the ceremony. The hope and the sorrow. The loss and the rebirth. Bastian seeks to be part of all of this, so he gives of himself to the Rhythm.

He connects a bit of the music in one drummer to that of another, and imparts their shared vision of the music to one dancer, then another. In each, he builds up some of their individual magic into a connectivity unique to a tribe.

Inside, he stretches himself, as he weaves and builds the greatest meeting of artistic talent he has yet attempted. Quantum fires through his node in the effort, and he feels a greater sense of ecstasy than ever wash over him.

*So many minds*

He feels into the spirits of the ancestors as they arrive. But Quantum Ghosts, he lends them his own window into the Soul of the People.

After it is over, Bastian sinks to the ground, weeping. The beauty so great that his mind aches at its absence.

He reaches once more into himself and plumbs the well of his essence. Fire burns through his tired form, causing it to fade and shimmer. He finds the word in Souix, and reaches to all the minds around him.

*Thank you*

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Singularity sits next to Codex, briefly scanning the crowd around them. He ignores the slight unease his presence creates around him before the start of the dance. A small girl on his left gazes at his silver eyes, gripping her mother's hand tightly. Singularity smiles warmly at the child, doing his best to disarm the girl. The mother quietly scolds the girl for staring and scoots her away from the nova.

Singularity turns to the dance, watching with rapt attention, loudly applauding when it ends.

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With all the spectacle and ceremony, not to mention more novas present here on this day in one place that didn't belong in Ibiza, a lot of people came in unnoticed. Some were friends of the tribe of course, others historians, still a few more from distant relatives. All of them tended to get overlooked in the fervor the very large number of novas here.

The blonde woman and her husband blended in very well with the onlookers. Jacob Napolitano put his arm around his wife's shoulders as she watched the ceremony with wide, hungry eyes. She seemed utterly enraptured by it all, almost blind to everything else around her. He worried for a moment that something was happening to her, especially when the smoke began to take visible form. Her own arm, sliding around his waist and pulling their two bodies gently together, removed his concern. He pulled her closer, holding her against him.

Will this be enough, he wondered, to bring her back to her senses. She's never been around this many novas before. Hopefully, she'll come to understand the truth about what's happened to her if she speaks to some of them.

Inwardly, he sighed. He silently offered prayer to a deity other than the ones honored here, and hoped desperately that it would not fall on deaf ears.

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He had been quietly watching. Not really making a scene nor trying to draw attention to himself. Of all the Novas here, DigiGeist was the best at making himself scarce. He's somewhat like his name. A ghost.

When Totem's spirits start to dance, a strange thing happens. He cries.

For the first time since his eruption, He cries. He had shown other emotions, Anger, Happiness, Apathy, Arrogance. But this, finally makes him realize what he went through to get here and who he is.

"They were right all along...."

He realizes, partially, who he is.

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The ceremony's beginning was marked clearly by the bottlenecked morass of human spectators jockeying for a seat in the already crowded stands. Like an ocean of humanity, like cattle being herded into pens, the multitudes would jabber and chat and shuffle their legs, one at a time, never for more than a few inches at a stretch, moving forward like participants in a great human traffic jam, inch by inch.

ronin turned to Sakurako, who stood still on the outskirts of the baseline amoebe, and dryly remarked "Not a chance."

Hino blinked up at him. "Hmm? Not a chance of what?"

"I've got a plan", ronin remarked with a somewhat wolfish grin. "Come with me."

Leading her by the hand, ronin stole away beneath one of the bleacher seats that made up the arena-like view of the rodeo grounds, where stragglers who had given up on finding a good seat made camp with blankets and picnic supplies to watch the show as best they could through the wooden slats of seats and the legs of those who sat in them. Sakurako seemed dubious about ronin's plan; clearly, this was a less than optimal vantage point.

Instead, ronin lead Sakurako to a point so far away from the action that it was nearly out of sight completely, when he nudged her back into one of the support columns holding up the very highest level of bleacher seating, and told her, still smiling, "Close your eyes."

Sakurako smiled back, but she was nevertheless still a bit suspicious. "What do you have planned...?"

ronin just continued to smile, and told her "It's a surprise, just close your eyes."

Sighing with exasperation, Hino closed her eyes, and felt a pair of strong arms wrap around her, followed by lips on her own. For a brief moment, she felt like she was falling, like the support had given behind her, but the sensation waned almost as soon as it arrived.

However, as much as she was enjoying this, she did still want to see the show, and she had thought ronin did as well. Finally they stopped kissing, and as Sakurako opened her eyes around her, she found that the shady cover of the bleachers had vanished and been replaced with the stark, arid heat of the backstage arena, where performers and coordinators scurried about in preparation for the show set to begin any moment.

"ronin, did you...?"

"Shhhhh", ronin smiled, and placed a finger over her lips. "A wizard did it."

"Can I help you two?" The question came from a short, pudgy woman with an official air about her. "You're not performing. You know that only performers are allowed back here, right?"

ronin grinned incandescently. "Revered miss, the lady and I are friends and guests of young master Totem, and we wished only to adopt a fair vantage point of his spectacular show. Miss Hino, here, you see, designed Totem's staff, and is strictly speaking a part of the design team. You won't mind if we just stay back here and remain out of the way for Totem's portion of the ceremony...now, do you?" The latter part was technically a question, but ronin didn't say it like one.

The woman flushed slightly, somewhat overwhelmed, as if she had just been come on to. "Well, no", she smiled, chuckling nervously to herself, "I suppose not, of course. Enjoy the ceremony."

ronin wrapped his arm around Sakurako's waist and they both turned toward the arena, as Totem began to stalk out to the ground, trailing a score of bedecked dancers behind him.

The ceremony began and Totem assumed his domination over the moment, and both ronin and Sakurako were duly impressed. However, that feeling quickly mutated into something much more, as both individuals sensed something more profound in Totem's gestures, something primal and ancestral that neither could quite place.

ronin watched with mute wonderment, and began to recall flashes and glimpses of times and places past he had all but forgotten. Was he even remembering? The images were so vague, he hesitated to label them memories. But for a moment, his mind's eye saw such wonderment, he questioned whether the others in the crowd, baseline or nova alike, were sharing the experience to the extent that he was. ronin felt something, too, an almost imperceptible distortion in chronoplanar integrity, as if Totem's dance seemed to mold and ripple time itself, harkening back to the distant past.

When it was finally over, ronin sat stunned for a moment, his senses taking in the full breadth of what he had seen and felt, as his mind attempted to digest it and strain it through a millenium. Clearly, he could see as he looked around, while many people here were touched and even moved to the point of tears of had become faint, they had not seen the same thing he had seen. But when he turned to Sakurako, he saw that she was crying.


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It takes a moment for the moment to sink in. The emotional outpouring from the crowd and all in attendance hits him hard. Totem bows roars out a triumphant below as he holds the staff over his head. The pain of his node throbbing within his head tells him something happened that he has yet to realize. But the sheer overwhelming approval of the crowd seems to say that whatever happened wasn't such a bad thing.

He scans the scene looking for his friends amid the stands seeing Codex and her friend he gives her a happy wink. Disappointed more aren't around her it only lasts a moment before he realizises that seating arrangements where made elsewhere around the grounds.

He let's the other performers have their moments in front of the crowd as the announcer comes over the PA. Seeming to have to compose himself as well he declares the Pow Wow to be open officially and thanks the performers each by name.

People begin to come down from the stands. Some come and speak to the performers. Most head for the variety of domes and tents for other activities. Totem moves away toward the trees, feeling a bit self conscious again he sees the blue furred Nova he recognizes immediatly as well as the other who came out of the tree nearby who watched him.

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As the performers break up, April finds a little more altitude and shoots over to Totem. She catches up with him, drifting alongside as he strides toward the stand of trees, and says, "Hey, that was totally amazing! I guess that had to have been improv, right? I mean, pretty much everyone I can see looked pretty surprised. Anyway - very cool. That made my little bit of telekinesis look like kid stuff."

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Sakurako doesn't answer for a moment, as she recalls what caused such an overflow of emotion to arise from her subconcious.

"...It's... nothing... really..." Sakurako manages to say between sobs.

"I know you better than that, Saku-chan." ronin responds. "You can tell me. As far as I know, no one else is paying attention."

Sakurako works up the courage.

"... She said I was a coward."

These words almost floor ronin.

"Who said that?"

"My sister."

Now ronin begins to worry. Has she flipped again? What's going on here? But Sakurako calms all doubt.

"Totem must be a priest of high status. If but for a moment... Mizuko visited me. But... Why did she call me..."

ronin walks over to Sakurako and lays a hand on her shoulder.

"I have always found that an answer is discovered in it's proper time." ronin says, trying to offer some understanding.

"ronin-kun, there is always a reason an ancestor or family member says someting that direct."

She looks up to ronin from her seated position.

"You consider me a coward, ronin-kun?"

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ronin glowers for a moment. "Sakurako, you know that I feel I can always be honest with you, right? You know that I feel I never have need to lie to you, indeed, to even mask or pad the truth, right?"

Sakurako clenches her wrists together, looking up at him helplessly, her eyes streaming crystalline tears from her big, beautiful pink eyes, and, hesitantly, fearfully, she nods, slightly.

"Correct. I will tell you the truth always, as I see it, without dressing it up or masking it. It is a luxury I can exercise without fear of repricussion with you and you alone. I tell you the truth as I do, simple and uncomplicated, because I love you and respect you." He reached out a hand and wiped a tear from her cheek with his thumb, a stern, unfliching look on his face that set Sakurako on edge.

"No, my darling." He broke out in a sort of apologetic grin. "No, I do not think you are a coward." He smiled weakly, grabbed her and hugged her close, nuzzling his face in her hair. "I think you that are very, very srong. A lot stronger than you or anyone gives you credit for. I see within you the capacity for epic bravery and strength and heroism. I see a girl -- a woman -- who has been tested time and time again and come out on top every time. I see someone that I love very, very much, who I respect and adore." He paused, and inhaled deeply, shutting his eyes in mute reflection.

"Sakurako, that's enough. I won't have you calling the woman I love names like that." He smiled, and kissed her.

"I just...I don't know what to think...seeing Mizuko like that...she seemed so..."

"Saku-chan, do you think that you're a coward?"

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With a somewhat suprised look Totem turns to the dark haired girl who zips up to him.

"Improv? What do you mean? I'm glad you liked the performance but it was just a dance unless you mean the wings." He gestures to his back as he speaks. "Also, who are you?" It is asked in a friendly and curious way as he is obviously still in a good mood.

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Sakurako looks up to ronin...

"Yes, ronin. I've run away from too many things in my life."

She nuzzles ronin's chest, drying her eyes in his clothes. "I think that's why she said that. There have been alot of things I've ignored due to fear of the unknown. I've spent so much time in an ivory tower, that when I'm finally free... I still feel like I'm in one." she pauses... "But, I somehow got the courage to be with you, and that I feel is a start."

Sakurako manages a weak giggle. "Never thought the guy that tried to eat me would give me such a revelation, huh?"

She manages to dry up her tears. Realizing what she had been given.

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Preston views the ceremony without comment, but anyone viewing him will notice his eyes glowing brightly. He sinks his mind into the past, touching upon the threads that Totem is weaving among his tribe.

Whatever he sees, he keeps to himself.

Turning to Blue Cherry,

"Well, let's see if I can find V or Neil, shall we?"

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Confused, April stops moving for a moment, then matches Totem's speed again.

"I'm April Rice. I came up from Chicago earlier to help Endeavor with set up. I mean, Sakurako. You kinda met me earlier at breakfast, but you seemed pretty distracted ..."

Gaining some altitude, April moves from just skimming the ground to drifting along at Totem's eye level.

"Ok, so ... um ... just so we're on the same page. You know you did something really big back there, right? With animal ghosts and clouds of smoke? It can't have been a normal part of the dance, 'cause I felt you make it all."

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"Oh yeah right. Sorry my brain is a bit out of wack right now." Totem rumbles in reply. "Thanks for helping out around here."

"Ghosts?" Looking more than confused Totem stops and looks back toward where the ceremony took place. "I.. I didn't see anything really. I don't even remember much of what happened." With a bewildered expression Totem rubs the top of his head with a paw and glances at the trees beyond where the auburn haired woman watches him before he looks back to April. "You felt it come from me? Explains why my head hurts so much."

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Never really ceasing to move, April lazily circles Totem, replying, "Yeah, definitely - I can feel powers sometimes. The doctors at the Rashoud Facility say I have an usually developed node. I'm not so good at using it yet, but that was kind of hard to miss."

"Maybe someone else would be better at describing what happened, but basically, you let off this colorful smoke that spread all over the ground - even getting into the stands. Then, these illusions of animals started coming out of the smoke - I saw birds, deer, buffalo ... probably more. It was really amazing."

"You didn't notice any of it? That's pretty weird."

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Holding of Preston's hand lightly, she smiled. Plots were forming in her mind, but the trick would be to be sly about them. Sometime it was fun to get "caught".

"I'll keep a proverbial eye open for those two. Would you mind telling me a bit about your life off duty? Or do you not have one? I hear that you are almost always working. That can’t be good, even for novas."

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During the ceremony, Carlos sat quietly, watching the ceremony with open awe from behind the bleachers. At the conclusion, a moment after the applause began, he lept to his feet (surprising both passengers), and roared out his cheers (surprising the people sitting in the bleacher below him). He is still clapping his hands deafeningly when Totem leaves the stage.

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Jacob Napolitano didn't expect to find a familiar face so far away from Boston. Maybe one or two novas that he'd seen on N!, of course, but nobody local. But one in particular caught his eye, and made the effort of pointing him out to his wife.

The couple made their way out of the bleachers and down the hill until they approached him. A woman held his hand, but neither of them recognized who she was.

"Officer Preston?" Jacob called out to the man. "Officer Preston?"

When they catch him to Preston, Jacob offers his hand to him.

"Officer Preston," he begins excitedly. "It's wonderful to see you, sir. I don't know if you remember me, but we met last year. I'm Jacob Napolitano? 2nd Division Circuit Court? This is my wife, Erin. The media have taken to calling her Seraphim."

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"Life outside the job? Not in the past few months, it seems. I took some .... time off, and I wanted to catch up with so many things. Then, I don't tire, or need to sleep, and the mind always seems to be working on something or other. I guess the answer would be no. Outside of Neil, all my friends are on the job, or related to it."

A thought seems to bother Preston, but he shrugs it off.

"What about you?"

*Some coming directly at me ... seems familar, a blinding flash of insight as he goes over any number of criminals, or criminal associates that might want to have more than a word with him.*

*Jacob Napolitano, husband of Erin aka Seraphim. He wants to say something. I should turn around slowly in a second.*

"Officer Preston?"


Preston turns around and gives his best calm and pleasant expression.

"Officer Preston?"

Preston shakes the proffered hand and gives a genuine smile.

"Officer Preston. It's wonderful to see you, sir. I don't know if you remember me, but we met last year. I'm Jacob Napolitano? 2nd Division Circuit Court? This is my wife, Erin. The media have taken to calling her Seraphim."

"Please, call me Craig, Your Honor. I'm off duty right now. It is a pleasure to meet you again, as well, Mrs. Napolintano."

Preston waits to see if Erin wishes to shake hands. Gesturing to Blue Cherry, he says,

"This nice young lady goes by the handle of Blue Cherry. She says she can help me find my son, Neil, who is somewhere here."

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"Working to hard makes you slopy.You need to break, trust me when I say that even novas need to rest.I think I'll you with some R&R.I am going to take you to a movie.And just before you say no,I don't need to see the future to know you already know it is pointless to argue with a 22 year old.After all I know everything."

Smiling to the new comer, she offered him her free hand.Her eyes were still clossed.but her face was pleasant,and welcoming.

"Well, I am pleased to meet you.I hope you have a good time. And please feel free to make this man laugh as much as you can and want to.He needs it."

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Jacob Napolitano smiles as Preston shakes his hand.

"Only if you call me, Jacob, Craig. I just wanted to know that I appreciate the job you do for our city. Truly, you have my thanks."

Erin shakes Preston's hand right after. She looks genuinely concerned for his well-being.

"I am so happy to see you well, Mr. Preston! I received a letter from your son letting me know that you were off your feet for a while. I'm thankful that things have gotten better for you."

They both turn to Preston's companion.

Jacob offers his hand to her. "Ms. Cherry, always a pleasure to meet a friend of one our finest."

Erin nods and offers her hand as well.

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Apep watches as the Novas gather around Totem. Listening to their conversation from afar, she catches Totems gaze and makes a yawning gesture then rolls her eyes. Still smiling, she sits cross-legged on the ground at the base of the tree and continues to watch.

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Totem sends a small smirk to Apep before he turns to Codex. "Did ya like it? Apparently I added something more to the dance according to April but I have to admit I don't really know what happened. I just kinda spaced out." He looks a bit embarrassed by that revelation and he shuffles a bit. It's a fairly obvious attempt of blocking the line of sight between the Utopian and her friend, the former Elite and the Terat behind him.

He feigns stretching his wings as he speaks, their huge span easily blocking all parties from one another as well as smacking a few passersby and April with feathers. He flinches. "Oh I'm sorry about that."

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Singularity smiles, apparently unaware or ignoring Totem's motion, "Some times we do our best when our minds are quiet. Or when we are caught up in the moment and we act without thought. I have rarely been in such a state and I admit I am a bit envious of the drama of your own experience." He grins, "Perhaps I should be taking lessons from you?"

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Totem looks down at his friend. "Well I guess I will check out the video later and see what the touch looked like." Wings fold back behind him as he stands there.

There is a slightly uncomfortable silence for a moment before before he speaks again. "Codex it would mean a lot if you went to the story circle for awhile. The circle is where the older folks hold the story feather and tell of something long ago." He grins a bit and his feathers begin to flush to their normal browns. "You don't have to speak but I'd like you to watch, listen and remember. Who knows how much longer the stories will be told and I would like someone to remember them. Do you mind?"

"And I know better than to think neither of you wouldn't notice. Yes that is Apep over there. I asked her to come and she did. I am just trying to keep my friends on all sides peaceful.. At least for today."

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Regan arches an eyebrow, lips quirking briefly. "I've met her mother," is all she says on the subject of Apep. "I think it might be a good idea for me to head to the story circle, sweetheart, so I can tell my bosses I didn't 'associate' with her."

She inclines her head to Totem, then in Apep's direction, and then to the rest of the novas before heading off to the story circle.

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April ducks the sweep of Totem's wing, moving with characteristic swiftness, then drops to ground level - both to be at a safer altitude and to avoid hanging over Codex and Singularity.

When Totem points out Apep, she looks more'n a bit uncomfortable (what with the mass murderer rep, and all), and says, "... I sure won't cause any trouble with her ..."

And, as the little cluster breaks up, she says "Guess I'll be going too. Later, Totem," and kicks off the ground, gently levitating up for a better view of the pow wow.

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Zed lies in bed, sling on his arm and cast on his foot watching a large screen showing the ceremony.

"Look what I missed! Who are we blaming this week for my miserable failures?"

The butler pulls a PDA from inside his jacket, "This week it is... ah yes, the damn dirty apes.

Zed looks up at the ceiling shaking his good fist, "I'LL GET THE BETTER OF YOU YET YOU DAMN DIRTY APES!"

"Do you feel better now sir?"

"Much better, yes. Tell the cook to come in here."

"Yes sir." The butler leaves the room, entering a minute later with a chef's hat on and an apron around his waist. "Yes sir?"

"My chef should have a French accent."

"I'm English sir. I don't do a French accent."

"How am I supposed to pretend I'm a filthy rich OpNet star if I don't have a French chef?"

"What would you like to eat?"

Zed looks away from the chef, silent.

"Please don't make me sir."

"I thought I heard somebody speak, but the chef is the only other person in the room and he's French, not English."

"You're acting childish sir."

Zed shakes his head.


A wide smile appears on Zed's face as he turns back to the chef.

"What Eez eet you feelthy American?"

"I'd like a stack of pancakes, three feet high. Drenched in maple syrup, pat of butter on top."

The chef scoffs at him and storms out of the room.

Zed continues watching the screen, "It's good to be rich."

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  • 2 weeks later...

"Thanks, Craig," replies Preston, then he shakes Seraphim's hand and says,

"Thank you, Mrs. Napolitano. I had a bad time of it, this winter, but I'm better now."

After she greets Ms. Cherry, he adds,

"Actually, I have just met Blue Cherry for the first time just a few minutes ago. We have chatted a bit online before, but I wasn't expecting her to be here. I can only figure she is taking pity on an old ... older man."

He smiles shyly.

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